Upgrade sought for Chilean bivalves

An attempt to give special status to oysters and scallops from Chile’s Region IV, in order to increase their market value, has been launched.

The project "Sustainable aquaculture: regional oyster industry", is financed by the Regional Government of Coquimbo through the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC), and executed by the Business Research and Modeling Center (CIMON) of Santo Tomás University (UST) of La Serena. It will last for two years and will seek to differentiate the oysters of the IV region with those of other parts of Chile, as well as those from other countries, by giving them a special designation.

Protected geographic status is beinig sought for oysters from Chile's Coquimbo region
Protected geographic status is beinig sought for oysters from Chile's Coquimbo region

"Through CIMON, the institution aims not only to promote the growth of academics and students, but to contribute to the region in the productive aspects that our inhabitants require. With this initiative we will strengthen one of the exclusive resources of our country," says Ramiro Trucco, rector UST of La Serena.

Project director, Antonio Vélez, explained: "The project aims to highlight a product typical of the area, and to indicate geographically that the oyster is from Guanaqueros / Tongoy".

He added that the designation would highlight a product that is not only geographically, but also culturally and socially distinct.

"The waters of Tongoy and Guanaqueros are an important sanitary and nutritional asset in the region, since it is one of the few places in Chile where you can consume a marine product or fresh seafood from pure unpolluted waters,” he added.

The project aims to increase the value of the area’s oysters.

As Ivonne Etchepare, representative of the area’s oyster growers, said: "We must work so that this high-end product is recognised through accreditation and certification that give it access to new markets – both in Chile and internationally."

Rob Fletcher

Rob Fletcher

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